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Q. Am I prone to lung cancer if I have a strong family history of smoking?

Answered by
Dr. Anshul Varshney
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 21, 2017

Hello doctor,

I am 29 years old and I have smoked three and a half pack years in total. I quit smoking three years ago and I smoked half pack a day from 19 to 26. My great grandmother on my grandfather's side died from lung cancer at 49. She was a very very heavy smoker and so was her husband so she was always around it. Does her dying early increase my risk of getting lung cancer or does it not matter because she smoked very heavily but that is several generations ago. Her daughter who is my grandfather's sister is in her 70s and has COPD. She was also a lifelong smoker. Should I be worried even though I just have 3.5 pack years? I do not know if genetics were still a factor here. Please help.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

Yes, lung cancer does have a genetic predisposition.

However, it is not that anyone who has a family history of lung cancer will get it.

Various other factors like heavy smoking, pollution, body immunity also play a role.

I do not find any reason to worry if you do not have any symptoms now and if you have quit smoking.

However, there is no harm in getting a single chest X-ray done to be sure of the current status.

However, if you have any particular symptoms, please let me now.

For more information consult a critical care physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/criticalcare-physician


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Thank you doctor,

I would like to know on average, how many pack years does someone smoke get lung cancer? I know anyone can get it but I would like to know on an average. Because I heard you are not even told to get an assessment until you have like 30 pack-years and are above 50.

Dr. Anshul Varshney

Critical Care Physician Diabetology General Medicine Internal Medicine Medical Gastroenterology Nephrology Pulmonology (Asthma Doctors) Rheumatology
#

Hello,

Welcome back to icliniq.com.

However, in general, it is said that if a person smokes nothing, he has a risk factor of one.

One who smokes 10 cigarettes a day will be 10 times more likely to develop lung cancer in comparison to a non-smoker.

One who smokes 20 cigarettes a day will have 20 times more risk.

One who smokes 30 cigarettes a day is 30 times more likely to develop lung cancer by the time he is 75 years old.

So, this is a rough calculation. However not medically proven.

For more information consult a critical care physician online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/criticalcare-physician


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